11 01 2010

Or, who’s REALLY the greatest country in the world?

Tell it like it is, Paul:

And likewise you Mrs. commentor,  an American living in Germany:

Here’s what the lady says:

“When it comes to the European way of of life, Americans lie-to themselves and to each other-because by such lies they can maintain the fiction (and myth) that the American Way of Life, with all its perils, is the only way to go.

I can tell you this: we’ve been living in Frankfurt now for over a year, and our life here has debunked such myths. My husband, who has dual citizenship, works in finance–here in Frankfurt, he has a job as a European, and previously to that, he had similar jobs in Houston and NYC as an American. We came to Europe with virtually the exact same salary–and everyone told us (including Europeans who’d moved to the US) that we’d lose with the tax breaks. However, that turned out not to be true at all. We pay almost the exact same salary. Actually, contrary to popular belief, here we pay about 4% less.

Furthermore, here we receive money for each of our kids, better tax deductions for them, tax deductions for myself as a stay at home mother (and therefore, dependent), and incredible tax deductions when we looked into buying a place of our own. We’re not on the public health care option–we go private–and yet it costs us far less than our US health insurance did, and here our insurance covers everything 100%. Each time one of our kids had to be rushed to the ER after some fall (they’re boys!), none which was dangerous, we paid nothing, zero, and were attended immediately, and always by the doctor, never nurses or aids, as had happened before in the US. Our taxes also pay for the most incredible public transportation system–which, besides, is free when you work fulltime. As if that were not enough, my husband receives a car and, more importantly, free gas. Food is cheaper, too. Here, you can eat daily what in the US would be considered ‘organic’ or ‘healthy’ or, even, ‘gourmet’ and not even blink. Lastly, in Houston our son’s private childcare cost us anything between $800-$1500 per month for each (even more in NYC) and we were looking at similar costs forever if we contemplated private schooling throughout, plus college. Here, they receive an international, bilingual education at a renowned institution which, like nearly all in Germany, is subsided by the state and slanted progressively so that parents pay according to what they earn. Our school fees, therefore, have shrunk to less than half what we paid for each child and university, if we chose to stay, in Germany is virtually free.

And did I mention the 2 months vacation? Which everyone is expected to take? Which everyone DOES take? And that hotels are cheaper? In the US, my husband received quite a generous vacation package (for the US) and yet the understand was that he take as little as possible.

However, without a doubt, the biggest difference in this way of living is the sense of security. The knowledge that greed is kept at bay and social life will continue, protected.

So in what way exactly is Europe’s social democracy not working?

Oh, I know: it will do its best not to allow for excess.”

Frankfurt, Germany
January 11th, 2010
10:50 am


27 11 2009

Dear Readers,

Please take a look at this much earlier post of mine, reporting stuff I’d learned on the Internet from an ACTUAL SWEDISH PERSON:

Now another Swede has come along and told more of the details of life in Sweden in the form of comments to that post. See the comments of Annika about paid parental leave.

If this blog does nothing more than inform a few working Americans how good life COULD be for them, and in fact is, every day, for millions of people just like them in the premier progressive, democratic country of Europe, it will have done a hell of a lot of good.


24 05 2009


by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Here’s the YouTube video:

(which takes this very strong rap and visualizes it perfectly. But don’t watch it if you’re a right winger!)

Now the Lyrics:

A revolution never come with a warning

A revolution never sends you an omen

A revolution just arrive like the morning

Ring the alarm we come to wake up the snoring

They tellin’ you to never worry about the future

They tellin’ you to never worry about the torture

They tellin’ you that you’ll never see the horror

Spend it all today and we will bill you tomorrow

Three piece suits and bank accounts in Bahamas

Wall street crime will never send you to the slammer

Tell all the children in the arms of their mammas

The F-15 is a homicidal bomber

TV commercials for a popping pill culture

Drug companies circling like a vulture

An Iraqi baby with a G.I. Joe father

Ten years from now is anybody gonna bother?

Yell Fire, yo, yo, yo

Here we come here we come

Fire, yo, yo , yo, yo

Revolution a comin’

Fire, yo, yo, yo, yo

Fire, yo, yo, yo, yo

Everyone addicted to the same nicotine

Everyone addicted to the same gasoline

Everyone addicted to a Technicolor screen

Everybody tryin’ to get their hands on the same green

From the banks of the river to the banks of the greedy

All of the riches taken back by the needy

We come from the country and we come from the city

You play us on the record, you can play us on the CD

All the shit you’ve given us is fertilizer

The seeds that we planted you can never brutalize them

Tell the corporation they can never globalize it

Like Peter Tosh said Legalize it

Girls and boys hear the bass and treble

Rumble in the speakers and it make you wanna rebel

Throw your hands up, take it to another level

And you can never, ever, ever make a deal with the devil

Yell Fire, yo, yo, yo

Here we come here we come

Fire, yo, yo, yo, yo

Revolution a comin’

Fire, yo, yo, yo, yo

Fire, yo, yo, yo, yo

Kind of reminds me of Alan Ginsberg’s poem Howl! Or the leftest ferment of the 1960s. But none of that did any good. Nothing changes. Did the serfs ever manage to revolt against the feudal lords?